Thursday, October 8, 2009

In His Own Voice

No news—which there hasn’t been on this blog for awhile—is good news, if you have the patience to think of slow, incremental, watching-grass grow news as good news. (It is.) Brooke’s had the trach downsized; this is good, and he's almost back up to where he was before, a bunch of hours off the vent. But the new development is the introduction of a speaking valve: this is a one-way cap that’s put over the opening to the trach, allowing him to breathe air in but forcing him to breathe it out through his mouth and nose, the way we normally do. This is of course extremely difficult when you’ve been doing it another way for almost a year, and also when your diaphragm hasn’t built up enough strength yet to exhale with real force. Just the same, when he’s on the speaking valve—just a few minutes at first, then a handful more, now about 45 minutes at a time, he can speak with his own voice. In sentences. Even paragraphs. And that’s the good news.

Son Mike and granddaughter Kendra (just finishing high school, looking carefully at colleges) will be here Friday and Saturday while Peggy’s away giving a talk in Frankfurt. If you want to arrange something with Brooke over the weekend, e-mail Mike at or Brooke’s new Personal Assistant & Nurse Julia Strompolos at, or try cellphoning me 801-824-9160 if you don’t think it’s the middle of the night in Europe.

And soon, it’ll be possible to talk to Brooke directly even while he’s trach-masking off the vent.



Lorraine Seal said...

You won't be passing through Ireland, by any chance?


Lorraine Seal said...


I just thought I'd say a quick hello. I took advantage of Peggy's being nearly in the same time zone and rang her this afternoon. She was busy finishing her speech, but she took a few minutes to talk. It was good to chat with her.

We had a fine autumn day here, with crimson and gold leaves shining bright against the green hedges and fields. I picked some more blackberries and nicked some more pears. Soon the frost will get them all. Tonight we're watching Ireland play Italy in the World Cup quarter final-qualifiers. Ireland got the first goal, but then Italy scored too. It'll be tough to beat Italy, but one can hope.

I'm glad to know you're making progress. Keep up the good work.


Alysha Umphenour said...

I have a comment about something Peggy said in our class she came to visit awhile ago. I asked how this had changed your perspective and you said that from here you have two choices. To try to live your life as you had before to some respect or to change completely. I really liked the fact that through this accident you are taking advantage of the different opprotunities that will arise.